Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ship of fools

Ship of Fools:
I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, both chilling and burning, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. "Is he your only child?" I ask. "Yes," she says. "Do you have a child back in England?" she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. "You'd better start," she says. "The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they'll have the whole of Europe.
We're giving a fuck of a lot of money to some very stupid, very evil people.

Up with capitalism!


  1. Not sure what your last sentence means.

    European demography IS a time bomb. If you're still around in 30 years, you may find she was right!

  2. No. If you look at the numbers, the idea that Muslims will outpopulate non-Muslims in any sort of reasonable time-frame is absurd.

    First, the total Muslim population in Europe is, outside of Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina, is around 5%. And that's the total, which includes those fully assimilated into the national culture.

    There's nothing about brown skin or the Islamic religion per se that prevents cultural assimilation: If the Jews and the Christians can adopt democratic, Enlightenment values, it's possible for Muslims to do so as well: Most U.S. Muslims (excluding converts within the Black underclass, who are being oppressed for other reasons) have assimilated pretty well.

  3. Gotta go with Larry on this one. Herb London and Mark Steyn have been pretty roundly shown to be wrong by sheer dint of the math involved. If the "native" Europeans completely stop breeding a la "Children of Men" AND the Muslim population of Europe breeds like rabbits on a mixture of Viagra and crystal meth, then maybe by 2050 their fears will start to resemble reality.

  4. It's not just the Muslims already in Europe breeding more rapidly than their host populations: the continuing unrestricted immigration has to be taken into account as well.

    And don't assume that there will be no cultural/social problems until the Muslims in Europe amount to 50 per cent or more of the total population: a critical mass of 10 per cent. of unassimilated people antipathetic to Western notions of open, pluralist democracy will be more than enough to provoke serious civil unrest and conflict.

    I disagree with your blithe assertion that "there is nothing about the Islamic religion per se that prevents cultural assimilation." This was the simplistic 'multiculturalist' view prevalent in Europe until recently. But we are learning the hard way that, sadly, it isn't true.

    NB I am not an 'Islamophobe' or a racist - I had a Lebanese [Christian] grandfather.

  5. I don't think you're either an Islamophobe or a racist. I just think you're mistaken.

    I don't think immigration is unrestricted in any Western country (indeed I don't know of any country above median wealth that has unrestricted immigration).

    I understand that you disagree, but why? My conclusion is, as I note, predicated on the ability of hundreds of millions of Christians and Jews to assimilate Enlightenment values; their scriptures are at least as barbaric and inhumane as the Koran and Hadith. Additionally, the assimilation of millions of Muslims into American society is a good sign.

    I definitely don't think it's a trivial issue, and I don't think the American method—basically a sink-or-swim economy—is the best way of assimilating Muslims, but neither can it be viewed as an impossible task.

    The real crux of the biscuit is not religion per se but cultural norms and expectations. These do not appear in people by magic: They must be actively inculcated in children by parents, schools and other social institutions.

    I suspect that half the problem of assimilation in Europe results from a generous and admirable welfare policy originally designed to mitigate economic hardship of a relatively culturally homogeneous population; there is nothing in this policy which encourages or demands of immigrants with a strong original culture to participate in their new national culture.

  6. I disagree with your blithe assertion... [snip]

    But Europe is a qualitatively different immigration experience from the United States with different models of multiculturalism. The U.S., without resorting to tailored immigration or cultural policing policies, has as a matter of statistical generality managed to successfully acculturate its Muslim population.

    Part of the problem here, and it's one I've been meaning to address, is the use of terminology. Assimilation is not desirable -- ask the fin-de-siecle Jews in Austria -- but acculturation is.

    Europe is historically far less inclusive of racial diversity than the United States; it's simply not an issue that had to be dealt with for most of its history, until the end of colonialism halfway through the twentieth century. In this one respect, the United States has at least had to acknowledge and deal with certain aspects of diversity since its inception; nearly four times the time Europe has devoted to the question.

  7. Assimilation is not desirable -- ask the fin-de-siecle Jews in Austria -- but acculturation is.

    That's a good point. Acculturation is a better word than assimilation.

    My point is simply that acculturation is not a priori impossible or any more difficult by virtue of the specific features of the Islamic religion as opposed to their cultural practices in general.

  8. It may not be a priori impossible, but so far it isn't happening as successfully with Muslims as with other immigrants from non-European cultures.

    One reason, I think, is that - unlike Jews, Hindus and Buddhists - Muslims take their religious beliefs far more seriously and literally. With respect, Larry, ther religion conditions their culture - not vice-versa.

    James: Throughout its history, the USA has always been a 'melting pot', opening for the most part welcoming arms to - at first mostly European - refugees and pioneers. Now, with most of your new immigrants being Asian or Hispanic, your own demographic pattern is changing rapidly. The outcome depends upon the continuing allure of the 'American Dream', and from this side of the Atlantic that has seemed considerably less attractive these past few years.

    Unlike the Beckhams, my ultimate ambition wouldn't be to live in LA!

  9. Anticant,

    I promise to develop this theme more fully in the coming few days. Unfortunately, I'm leaving for a long weekend at my mother's and today have work I simply must complete, so I must defer to next week.


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